Morning Briefing Oct 1: Trump and Biden scrap it out in fiery first debate

Claws were out in the first US presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden yesterday.

The testy one-and-a-half-hour showdown on live television drew a massive estimated audience of 100 million viewers.

The pair spent the majority of the first part interrupting, trading jabs and accusing each other of lying.

Handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, the replacement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the Supreme Court, health care and race issues were some of the hot topics on the agenda.

The second debate is only expected to heat up, though, with the US election just over 30 days away.

Find out what Americans thought of the debate here.

As the candidates battled it out in front of the world's watchful eyes, data from Google yesterday revealed a significant increase in people searching the words "move to New Zealand" on Google from the US today.

It was searched more times in the period of the debate than at any other point within the last week. In particular, the hottest interest was seen to come from Hawaii, Oregon and Colorado. 

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Ardern, Collins clash over wage subsidy

Meanwhile, back in New Zealand the political scene heated up a bit too.

Labour’s Jacinda Ardern and National’s Judith Collins faced off in their second leaders’ debate last night, this time hosted by Newshub’s Patrick Gower.

The pair clashed over the abuse of claims of the Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme by large companies. Collins criticised the Government over not making clear enough rules.

Meanwhile, it was a united front among most of Parliament - all but one political party that is - on another issue.

Parties have come out in defence of the Serious Fraud Office after news Winston Peters is taking the agency to court over the timing of the release of information around the New Zealand First Foundation.

It comes after two people were charged with Obtaining by Deception in the NZ First Foundation electoral funding case on Tuesday.

The heat didn't stop Peters continue on with election campaigning yesterday though. 

Kiwis say no to tax cuts

While the nation’s MPs fight it out over what’s best for New Zealand, Kiwis are having their own say.

More than half of New Zealanders think now is not the right time for tax cuts, the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll has found.

If elected, Labour's pledging a tax increase hitting income earned over $180,000 by creating a new tax rate of 39 per cent.

Meanwhile National's promising temporarily slashing tax by altering tax brackets. Check out the full poll results of what New Zealanders thought here

Auckland Covid cluster comes to close?

New Zealand's only remaining cluster of Covid-19 cases looks to have been stamped out after having just one new case linked to it in two weeks, RNZ reported.

The cluster’s origin remains a mystery though, so it’s no surprise health and data experts say an Alert Level 1 for the nation’s biggest city will come with strings attached. 

However, as things shape up here, the possibility of a trans-Tasman bubble is being touted again.

This time, Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern appeared on Channel 9’s Today Show, an Australian morning programme, and called for authorities across the ditch to answer questions about how they would manage the “hotspots” bubble regime. 

Escapee facing court

In other Covid-related news, the latest person to be charged with escaping from managed isolation is facing court today.

The 36-year-old man allegedly roamed the streets of Auckland for eight hours after it’s claimed he broke out of a window on the fourth floor at Ramada Hotel using tied together bedsheets on Sunday.

Police said the man has been charged with failing to remain in a managed isolation or quarantine facility for a required period under the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act and Order 2020. 

New Zealand had no community cases of Covid-19 for a fifth straight day yesterday, with just one imported case being confirmed by the Ministry of Health.

The imported case was a person who tested positive around day three of their time in managed isolation after arriving into New Zealand from France via Singapore on September 25. 

Other news of note this morning:

- A Hawke's Bay iwi leader is calling for more funding for bereaved families to help pay for tangihanga. 

- Housing stock has hit a record low, affecting all but one region in New Zealand. It comes as asking prices in Auckland reach record highs.  

- A study by the Australian National University and the University of Melbourne on vaping has found it triples the chances of non-smokers taking up the smoking habit. 

- More than 400,000 people have signed a registry of possible volunteers that’s part of a vaccine network set up by the US National Institutes of Health. 

- The Salvation Army says it does not support the legalisation of cannabis in New Zealand ahead of the upcoming referendum, instead favouring the decriminalisation of casual use.

- South Africa voted to quit Super Rugby with plans to move their four teams into Europe's PRO14 competition, but it came as no surprise to All Blacks stars. 

Cake depicting Greens co-leader Marama Davidson. Source: 1 NEWS

And finally...

Another politician has fallen victim to Seven Sharp reporter Laura Daniel’s glorious cake baking impersonation.

This time it was Greens co-leader Marama Davidson under the knife (literally).

Daniel has taken it upon herself to turn every leader currently in Parliament into their very own cake – some with success and some perhaps not so much.

Find out how Davidson enjoyed her cake tasting here.